The Committee considered the following report:
“1.0 Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues
1.1 The purpose of this report is to provide Members with an update on community planning with a specific focus on the work being taken forward by the Living Here Board.
2.1 The Committee is asked to note the:
(i) ongoing work being progressed by the Living Here Board (LHB).
(ii) alignment and synergies between the Board and the work of the Committee.
(iii) ongoing opportunities for Elected Members to input and shape the work being taken forward through the Community Planning Partnership, including the refresh of the Belfast Agenda and delivery action plans, over the coming months.
3.0 Main report
3.1 The LHB is co-Chaired by the Council’s Director of Neighbourhood Services and the Health and Social Care Board’s Assistant Director and Commissioning Lead for Belfast. The Board comprises Council officers and a range of its Community Planning Partners, including representation from the Statutory and VCSE sectors. The areas of collaborative focus being taken forward by the LHB, as set out below, clearly aligns with the remit of the Committee and seeks to support vulnerable people and communities as well as creating integrated approaches to improving service provision and support within the city.
Members will be aware of the ongoing review and refresh of the Belfast Agenda. Since the launch of the engagement programme in June 2021, we have been continuing the conversation with our city partners and stakeholders, including our delivery boards, to examine the key challenges, opportunities, and priorities for the city for the period 2022-26. To help inform the new Belfast Agenda a co-production approach was adopted with city partners and stakeholders and is being rolled out in three phases: i) a review of existing priorities, ii) planning what needs to happen next and iii) consulting on our plans.
3.2 Living Here Board Workshop 7 July 2021
A workshop was held with members of the LHB as part of the first phase of engagement. The workshop focused on:
(i) Shaping and informing the refresh of the Belfast Agenda.
(ii) Securing collective agreement on priorities and interventions that the Board will drive forward over the next 18 months, to further support community recovery.
(iii) Considering how the Board could work more effectively (maximise productivity and d partners expertise and commitment).
The out-workings of this workshop will combine with other inputs and feed into subsequent engagement phases, allowing us to co-design action plans and a relevant, refreshed Belfast Agenda which will deliver a positive impact for everyone in the city.
A detailed report providing an overview of the Board workshop session is attached in Appendix 1. A number of key overarching areas for Members to note from the workshop discussion include:
ü General consensus that the priorities identified in the emerging Belfast Agenda delivery framework (2022-26) reflect the key challenges and opportunities for the city.
ü Recognition of the importance and need for strong collaboration and commitment from all partners, with resources mobilised to enable delivery.
ü Highlighted the opportunity to consider and adopt new agile approaches taking account of lessons learned in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
ü Advocated the need for priorities and actions to be specific, using simple and clear language.
ü Supported the need for the Board to organise itself to support delivery, with well-defined sub-structures as necessary and a focus on additionality.
ü Greater alignment of partner corporate/ business plans with the priorities of the LHB and the Belfast Agenda.
ü Agreement on the use of a structured Outcomes Based Accountability (OBA) approach and the importance of measuring success – impact.
Workshop participants agreed that the current focus and work of the LHB is relevant over the next 18 months, as Covid-19 has heightened these issues, widened existing inequalities and reinforced the need for the continued focus. There will be scope for partners to further refine the work as part of the action planning phase. The LHB work programme focuses on the following:
i) Addressing Health Inequalities:
ü Drugs, alcohol, mental health, and homelessness – Belfast Complex Lives approach.
ü Avoidable winter deaths – Belfast Warm and Well Project.
ü Promoting positive emotional wellbeing.
ii) Enabling community recovery and area planning (including the multi-agency support hub pilot in South Belfast)
iii) Improving outcomes for children and young people – through the Belfast Area Outcomes Group (BAOG) developing an integrated, inter-agency approach to early intervention (including children and young people fulfilling their potential, early years support and family programmes).
3.3 Living Here Board meeting 13 September 2021
In addition to the planned workshop in July, the LHB also held a virtual meeting on Monday 13 September 2021, a summary note and slide-deck from the LHB is attached in Appendix 2. Whilst the Committee may have previously discussed some of the areas below, some important points for Members to note from the LHB discussion include:
i) Belfast City Covid Research Report
3.4 Board members were presented with an overview, key findings, lessons learned and next steps of the research. The report (see attached in Appendix 3) highlighted the important role and success of the VCSE sector in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and in supporting vulnerable people in the community. The contents of the research report were also noted at the Strategic Policy and Resources meeting on 18 June 2021. Partners commended the research report and the importance of harnessing this work, to keep the focus and momentum going and influence regional and city approaches.
Addressing Health Inequalities
ii) Supporting vulnerable people with Complex Lives.
3.5 The Board received a practical overview of the ongoing work associated with the development and delivery of the complex lives whole system model in Belfast including the scope of the approach and the preparations that are underway for ‘Day 1 readiness’ at the end of October. The prototyping phase of the complex lives approach are due to take place from November – April 2022.
iii) Belfast Warm and Well Project
3.6 Board members received a short update of the project, noting the progress of year 2, limitations around the year 2 evaluation process due to Covid-19 and proposed actions planned for winter 2021/22. Board members agreed to proactively seek to raise awareness and encourage their frontline staff to promote and support the scheme.
Area Planning and Delivery
iv) Wider University and Lower Ormeau (WU&LO)
3.7 Elected Members will be aware of the significant and complex challenges in this area. Board Members were provided with a brief update on the ongoing work with government departments and local stakeholders to bring forward an integrated and targeted approach and proposal. Progress will continue to be reported through the LHB as the proposal is further developed and refined.
Within this context, Board Members were provided with an update on a proposal to re-connect CCTV cameras within the Holyland area and how this could be developed and resourced. This is just one of the many interventions to be taken forward to address issues of community concern in the area i.e. crime and ASB. Partners agreed to establish a small task and finish group of core partners to further develop and refine the proposal and report back to the LHB.
v) Department of Health – Integrated Care System (ICS) NI Draft Framework
3.8 A short presentation was made to the Board on the proposals for the new ICS model in NI, to help raise awareness amongst partners of the emerging framework and approach. Elected members will recall approving the draft council’s consultation response at the People and Communities committee meeting on the 7 September 2021. Partner engagement is ongoing to ensure alignment, as work is currently underway to implement elements of the ICS model by March 2022.
As the engagement work on the refresh of the Belfast Agenda continues, the next phase will bring focus to delivery and members of the LHB will further unpack priorities and co-design action plans, to be delivered over the next four years i.e. 2022-26. Action plans will need to:
ü Align to the strategic priorities agreed.
ü Identify convening leads – secure partner buy-in and shared ownership.
ü Comply with the principles of Community Planning (i.e. outcome focussed, create added value and isn’t business as usual).
ü Take account of experience and lessons emerging from the Covid-19 pandemic.
ü Consider a range of inputs (e.g. feedback from phase I engagement; continuation of relevant work; feedback from Board workshops and local data and intelligence).
3.9 Members will continue to be engaged in this process as it develops into early 2021. Regular updates of the LHB will be brought to the Community Planning All-Party Working Group and the People and Communities Committee going forward, providing the mechanism for informing and engaging members in relation to the Living Here work programme.
Financial and Resource Implications
3.10 There are no direct financial implications arising from this report. Costs associated with the implementation and facilitation of the LHB are currently being met within existing council budgets.
Equality or Good Relations Implications/
Rural Needs Assessment
3.10 There are no Equality or Good Relations Implications and no Rural Needs Assessment required for the recommendations outlined above.”
A number of the Members welcomed the ongoing work being progressed by the Living Here Board (LHB), along with the ongoing opportunities for Elected Members to input and shape the work being taken forward through the Community Planning Partnership, including the refresh of the Belfast Agenda and delivery action plans.